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The Cement Garden
The Cement Garden
Author: Ian McEwan
The first novel by the Booker Prize-winning author of Amsterdam. In the relentless summer heat, four abruptly orphaned children retreat into a shadowy, isolated world, and find their own strange and unsettling ways of fending for themselves.
ISBN-13: 9780099755111
ISBN-10: 0099755114
Publication Date: 1997
Pages: 144
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 5 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 2
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reviewed The Cement Garden on + 120 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Guess not many people liked this book by Ian McEwan. It is a sharp contrast to Atonement (the book that probably put the author on most people's radars in the first place) because it has absolutely zero romantic element. Yes, this book is about incest. Yes, most of the characters are despicable. Luckily, the book is short enough that if you overlook the sex stuff (and honestly, McEwan writes about it in his usual, clinical and sterile way...the main sex scene at the end is about as thrilling as your last dental appointment) you'll get through this quickly. It's worth re-reading to catch onto the real underlying issues of broken parenting, a weak mother-figure, a verbally abusive father, the effects on the children. Just don't get hung up on the incest.
reviewed The Cement Garden on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Dark and powerful. It's a book you can feel long after you finish.
reviewed The Cement Garden on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Disturbing yet interesting. A very strange story. I've heard it likened to Lord of the Flies and I'd have to agree with that. It's a fast read too, only ten chapters, I finished in a day and a half. I'm not sure if I would recommend it to friends because I feel that you'd have to be able to handle it. It's not scary terrifying, just leaves you with an unsettling feeling.
reviewed The Cement Garden on + 463 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This was a very macabre and disturbing short novel about four children who were suddenly left as orphans when there mother passed away. Not wanting to split up the family, the children decide to cement the mother's body into a trunk in the cellar. A very unforgettable piece of fiction. McEwan, as usual, does a great job with his descriptive prose and characterizations. The ending was especially shocking and bizarre and maybe a bit gratuitous but overall I would recommend this one.
reviewed The Cement Garden on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
To say almost anything about this darkly strange and disturbingly beautiful book would inevitably give away too much. On the surface, "The Cement Garden" is the story of four siblings coping with life after the death of their parents. This short and engrossing novel, however, is so much more.

Be warned that "The Cement Garden" is not for everyone. But those readers who have come to expect masterful prose and intoxicating character studies from Ian McEwan will not be disappointed.
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reviewed The Cement Garden on + 52 more book reviews
The Cement Garden is a tale of four siblings who must deal with life after their parents die. The oldest two start developing lives and personalities independent from the parents while they try to make sense of their dysfunctional lives, the younger daughter retreats into a world of reading and writing, and the youngest reverts back to baby behavior.

If you have ever heard of this book, you know their is incest and sexual abuse, but don't let that turn you off from this brilliant masterpiece by Ian McEwan. It's an interesting look of several different characters and what happens to their lives after their parental figures are gone.